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Developed a way to reduce traffic on network by 25%: Netflix on easing pressure on infra

FE Bureau

Netflix on Tuesday said it has developed a way to reduce traffic on telecommunications network by 25% while maintaining the quality of its service. The over-the-top (OTT) player will be deploying the technique in India for the next 30 days.

"Consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan-whether its ultra-high, high or standard definition," Ken Florance, vice-president, content delivery at Netflix said.

The move comes after the Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) had written to the government seeking an issuance of directive to video-streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video to formulate measures that will ease pressure on network infrastructure.

Other companies operating in the space are also lowering bit rates to reduce congestion. Bit rates indicate the amount of data being transferred.

A spokesperson at Amazon Prime Video said the company has already begun efforts to "reduce streaming bit rates in India whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for customers".

Social networking giant Facebook said it will temporarily reduce bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram in India, according to news agency PTI.

Social distancing has nudged more Indians to sign up for video OTT services and stay logged in for more hours on social media sites. While some OTT players have seen users resorting to repeat viewing (consumption of same content more than once), most others claim to have registered an uptick in average time spent by users on the platforms on a daily basis. Some firms like Eros Now have also launched free subscription packs.

"We have initiated measures to restrict the streams being delivered on any device at the player level, which will ensure the existing bandwidth is not overstretched," said Tarun Katial, CEO at Zee5 India.

Hotstar spokesperson had said the company’s video streaming was based on adaptive bitrate streaming, which ensures that it is "lean" in internet consumption. However, the company said it was "prepared to reduce the bitrate for our HD streams, should the need arise", according to PTI.

MX Player said it has launched data saver mode as an initiative to reduce broadband strain on infrastructure across the country.

Neeraj Roy, founder and CEO at Hungama digital media said it will follow all the steps suggested by authorities to ease pressure on network infrastructure.